Eli Tomac wins fifth straight in Supercross Round 12 in Seattle; Hunter Lawrence takes 250 West


Eli Tomac scored his fifth consecutive Monster Energy Supercross victory by winning Round 12 in Seattle, Washington, and extending his points lead.

The Yamaha rider put on a showcase Saturday night, leading all 26 laps, lapping all but seven riders and winning by more than 10 seconds.

With the 44th win of his career, Tomac tied Chad Reed for fourth on the all-time list. If Tomac can win four of the last five rounds, he will tie Ricky Carmichael for third. At 50 wins, second-ranked James Stewart is just out of reach during 2022.

With a 54-point lead, Tomac has a two-race lead over Jason Anderson and could wrap up the championship as early as Round 15 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Tomac doesn’t get a lot of holeshots. He’s made a career of coming through the pack, but in a season when it appears he is on a collision course with one record after another, Tomac is checking all the boxes. He jumped out to a safe lead over Justin Barcia in the first half of the race and when that rider crashed midway, he was more than 12 seconds ahead of the field.

“My main focus was to put the hammer down,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “Justin (Barcia) was putting the pressure on me those first few laps and we were putting on a heater pace. I just kept going and was really good that first part. Once he made the mistake, I had a big gap, but it was tough.”

Click here for complete 450 results

Last week’s dustup with Barcia was damaging to Anderson’s title push. Finishing sixth at Indianapolis, Anderson had not been in the top five in three weeks, so it was critical for him to get a strong run. Anderson won his heat but could not catch Tomac in the main event. Anderson minimized the points’ damage by finishing second.

“That track out there was brutal,” Anderson told Daniel Blair. “I wasn’t riding the best all day, but I was able to salvage all that. Coming out second was nice, and it didn’t cost me three points or three grand to get past Barcia, so it was a good night.”

Anderson’s final comment from the podium was in reference to the rough riding penalty Barcia incurred last week for an incident in Indianapolis.

A week after being docked three points and fined $3,000 for his contact with Anderson in Indianapolis, Barcia won his heat race. He has five podiums this year but has not yet found Victory Lane. Barcia jumped wide midway through the main and landed on a Tuff Blox. He remounted and finished fifth, which is his eighth consecutive finish of sixth or better.

Marvin Musquin earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third place. Musquin is two points behind Cooper Webb for fifth in the points.

“To get on the podium tonight is huge,” Musquin said, “I had a good day. Practice went really good; the speed was good. I just didn’t have the pace the first few laps, I got smoked by the two guys out front. They were gone.”

Malcolm Stewart had a strong fourth in the main event after leading seven of nine laps and finishing third in his heat. In fact, Heat 2 was a snapshot of the early part of the season with Anderson winning, Tomac finishing second, and Stewart in third. It was only a few weeks ago that these three riders were the top points contenders.

Chase Sexton suffered a hard crash in qualification and missed the main event after his bike landed on him.

Cooper Webb also experienced problems in the prelims but was able mount up for his heat. He got a slow start in his heat and climbed to only sixth. He also finished sixth in the main event.

The 250 West riders have not been on the track for five weeks, and the riders chasing points’ leader Christian Craig were determined to make up some ground in the championship.

In the opening minutes of the race, it didn’t seem they would be able to slow his momentum when Craig got a strong start and scooted out to an early lead. But Michael Mosiman locked onto his back wheel and would not allow him to get away. Three minutes into the Main, Mosiman made an aggressive move on Craig and dropped the leader in his tracks. Craig fell to sixth after the contact.

Meanwhile, the battle at the front of the pack continued with Hunter Lawrence now chasing Mosiman.

Of course, Craig is the points’ leader for a reason. He posted the fastest laps in the middle segment and slowly cut the leader’s advantage as Lawrence passed Mosiman and tried to ride off into the sunset.

“I’m so focused on every day,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Daniel Blair. “Honestly, the team today saved my ass. We were struggling with the bike through the whole day show. We had to make some calls that were like, if we get it wrong we could be screwed. I had to have faith and trust in my team.”

Lawrence was not as pleased with his first Supercross win as he might have been because it came in a Triple Crown format. He was running well the last time the 250 West riders hit the track in Anaheim before crashing, so this race held a special place.

With five minutes remaining in the race, Craig caught Mosiman and breezed past. Craig closed in on Lawrence and cut the lead to less than two seconds. The lead fluctuated and the outcome was not certain until the checkers, but Craig still had the biggest comeback of the race.

“I’m not going to lie; I’m sour about how that all went,” Craig told Will Christien. “I did what I did. I started out front and Michael was a little faster in the beginning. That’s three times now I get cleaned out. I’m sour, but I was able to once again salvage, get up, put on a charge and get up to second.”

Mosiman held on to finish third after repulsing a huge charge by Jo Shimoda, but that was enough to drop him from second to third in the standings. Mosiman is now 30 points out of the lead and four behind Lawrence.

“It was going really good for me,” Mosiman said. “I made some really good solutions. I had a rough start in qualifying and the heat – and then I ripped one in the Main. I was proud I was right up there with Christian. I was fast in the whoops, I really feel like I had something for him tonight. I made an aggressive move going for the championship and I ended up bending my rotor. I guess that’s what happens when you’re trying to make aggressive passes. I didn’t have any rear brake for the rest of the moto.”

Jo Shimoda in fourth and Vince Friese rounded out the top five.

Click here for 250 results


ROUND 1, ANAHEIM: Ken Roczen renews battle with Cooper Webb by winning the opener

ROUND 2, OAKLAND: Jason Anderson wins for first time since championship season

ROUND 3, SAN DIEGO: Chase Sexton (450s) and Michael Mosiman (250s) deliver first career wins

ROUND 4, ANAHEIM: Four races, four winners as Eli Tomac solidifies points lead

ROUND 5, GLENDALE: Tomac wins back-to-back races in Arizona Triple Crown

ROUND 6, ANAHEIM: Anderson ties Tomac with two 2022 wins

ROUND 7, MINNEAPOLIS: Anderson does it again and closes to within three of Tomac

ROUND 8, ARLINGTON: Tomac wins overall as Anderson takes two features

ROUND 9, DAYTONA: History made as Tomac sets Daytona Supercross record

ROUND 10, DETROIT: Tomac wins incident-filled, third consecutive

ROUND 11, INDIANAPOLIS: Tomac extends lead as competition falters

‘It’s gnarly, bro’: IndyCar drivers face new challenge on streets of downtown Detroit

IndyCar Detroit downtown
James Black/Penske Entertainment
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DETROIT – It was the 1968 motion picture, “Winning” when actress Joanne Woodward asked Paul Newman if he were going to Milwaukee in the days after he won the Indianapolis 500 as driver Frank Capua.

“Everybody goes to Milwaukee after Indianapolis,” Newman responded near the end of the film.

Milwaukee was a mainstay as the race on the weekend after the Indianapolis 500 for decades, but since 2012, the first race after the Indy 500 has been Detroit at Belle Isle Park.

This year, there is a twist.

Instead of IndyCar racing at the Belle Isle State Park, it’s the streets of downtown Detroit on a race course that is quite reminiscent of the old Formula One and CART race course that was used from 1982 to 1991.

Formula One competed in the United States Grand Prix from 1982 to 1988. Beginning in 1989, CART took over the famed street race through 1991. In 1992, the race was moved to Belle Isle, where it was held through last year (with a 2009-2011 hiatus after the Great Recession).

The Penske Corp. is the promoter of this race, and they did a lot of good at Belle Isle, including saving the Scott Fountain, modernizing the Belle Isle Casino, and basically cleaning up the park for Detroit citizens to enjoy.

The race, however, had outgrown the venue. Roger Penske had big ideas to create an even bigger event and moving it back to downtown Detroit benefitted race sponsor Chevrolet. The footprint of the race course goes around General Motors world headquarters in the GM Renaissance Center – the centerpiece building of Detroit’s modernized skyline.

INDYCAR IN DETROITEntry list, schedule, TV info for this weekend

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Motor City is about to roar with the sound of Chevrolet and Honda engines this weekend as the NTT IndyCar Series is the featured race on the nine-turn, 1.7-mile temporary street course.

It’s perhaps the most unique street course on the IndyCar schedule because of the bumps on the streets and the only split pit lane in the series.

The pit lanes has stalls on opposing sides and four lanes across an unusual rectangular pit area (but still only one entry and exit).

Combine that, with the bumps and the NTT IndyCar Series drivers look forward to a wild ride in Motor City.

“It’s gnarly, bro,” Arrow McLaren driver Pato O’Ward said before posting the fastest time in Friday’s first practice. “It will be very interesting because the closest thing that I can see it being like is Toronto-like surfaces with more of a Long Beach-esque layout.

“There’s less room for error than Long Beach. There’s no curbs. You’ve got walls. I think very unique to this place.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Speeds from the first session

“Then it’s a bit of Nashville built into it. The braking zones look really very bumpy. Certain pavements don’t look bumpy but with how the asphalt and concrete is laid out, there’s undulation with it. So, you can imagine the cars are going to be smashing on every single undulation because we’re going to go through those sections fairly fast, and obviously the cars are pretty low. I don’t know.

“It looks fun, man. It’s definitely going to be a challenge. It’s going to be learning through every single session, not just for drivers and teams but for race control. For everyone.

“Everybody has to go into it knowing not every call is going to be smooth. It’s a tall task to ask from such a demanding racetrack. I think it’ll ask a lot from the race cars as well.”

The track is bumpy, but O’Ward indicated he would be surprised if it is bumper than Nashville. By comparison to Toronto, driving at slow speed is quite smooth, but fast speed is very bumpy.

“This is a mix of Nashville high-speed characteristics and Toronto slow speed in significant areas,” O’Ward said. “I think it’ll be a mix of a lot of street courses we go to, and the layout looks like more space than Nashville, which is really tight from Turn 4 to 8. It looks to be a bit more spacious as a whole track, but it’ll get tight in multiple areas.”

The concept of having four-wide pit stops is something that excites the 24-year-old driver from Monterey, Mexico.

“I think it’s innovation, bro,” O’Ward said. “If it works out, we’ll look like heroes.

“If it doesn’t, we tried.”

Because of the four lanes on pit road, there is a blend line the drivers will have to adhere to. Otherwise, it would be chaos leaving the pits compared to a normal two-lane pit road.

“If it wasn’t there, there’d be guys fighting for real estate where there’s one car that fits, and there’d be cars crashing in pit lane,” O’Ward said. “I get why they did that. It’s the same for everybody. I don’t think there’s a lot of room to play with. That’s the problem.

“But it looks freaking gnarly for sure. Oh my God, that’s going to be crazy.”

Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing believes the best passing areas will be on the long straights because of the bumps in the turns. That is where much of the action will be in terms of gaining or losing a position in the race.

“It will also be really easy to defend in my opinion,” Palou said. “Being a 180-degree corner, you just have to go on the inside and that’s it. There’s going to be passes for sure but its’ going to be risky.

“Turn 1, if someone dives in, you end up in the wall. They’re not going to be able to pass you on the exit, so maybe with the straight being so long you can actually pass before you end up on the braking zone.”

Palou’s teammate, Marcus Ericsson, was at the Honda simulator in Brownsburg, Indiana, before coming to Detroit and said he was shocked by the amount of bumps on the simulator.

Race promoter Bud Denker, the President of Penske Corporation, and Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix President Michael Montri, sent the track crews onto the streets with grinders to smooth out the bumps on the race course several weeks ago.

“They’ve done a decent amount of work, and even doing the track walk, it looked a lot better than what we expected,” Ericsson said. “I don’t think it’ll be too bad. I hope not. That’ll be something to take into account.

“I think the track layout doesn’t look like the most fun. Maybe not the most challenging. But I love these types of tracks with rules everywhere. It’s a big challenge, and you have to build up to it. That’s the types of tracks that I love to drive. It’s a very much Marcus Ericsson type of track. I like it.”

Scott Dixon, who was second fastest in the opening session, has competed on many new street circuits throughout his legendary racing career. The six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion for Chip Ganassi Racing likes the track layout, even with the unusual pit lane.

I don’t think that’s going to be something that catches on where every track becomes a double barrel,” Dixon said. “It’s new and interesting.

“As far as pit exit, I think Toronto exit is worse with how the wall sticks out. I think in both lanes, you’ve got enough lead time to make it and most guys will make a good decision.”

It wasn’t until shortly after 3 p.m. ET on Friday that the IndyCar drivers began the extended 90-minute practice session to try out the race course for the first time in real life.

As expected, there were several sketchy moments, but no major crashes during the first session despite 19 local yellow flags for incidents and six red flags.

Rookie Agustin Canapino had to cut his practice short after some damage to his No. 78 Dallara-Chevrolet, but he was among many who emerged mostly unscathed from scrapes with the wall.

“It was honestly less carnage than I expected,” said Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood, who was third fastest in the practice after coming off his first career IndyCar victory in the most recent street race at Long Beach in April. “I think a lot of people went off in the runoffs, but no one actually hit the wall (too hard), which actually surprised me. Hats off to them for keeping it clean, including myself.

“It was quite a bit less grip than I think everyone expected. Maybe a little bit more bumpy down into Turn 3 than everyone expected. But overall they did a good job between the two manufacturers. I’m sure everyone had pretty much the same we were able to base everything off of. We felt pretty close to maximum right away.”

Most of the preparation for this event was done either on the General Motors Simulator in Huntersville, North Carolina, or the Honda Performance Development simulator in Brownsburg, Indiana.

“Now, we have simulators that can scan the track, so we have done plenty of laps already,” Power told NBC Sports. “They have ground and resurfaced a lot of the track, so it should be smoother.

“But nothing beats real-world experience. It’s going to be a learning experience in the first session.”

As a Team Penske driver, Power and his teammates were consulted about the progress and layout of the Detroit street course. They were shown what was possible with the streets that were available.

“We gave some input back after we were on the similar what might be ground and things like that,” Power said.

Racing on the streets of Belle Isle was a fairly pleasant experience for the fans and corporate sponsor that compete in the race.

But the vibe at the new location gives this a “big event” feel.

“The atmosphere is a lot better,” Power said. “The location, the accessibility for the fans, the crowd that will be here, it’s much easier. I think it will be a much better event.

“It feels like a Long Beach, only in a much bigger city. That is what street course racing is all about.”

Because the track promoter is also the team owner, Power and teammates Scott McLaughlin and Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden will have a very busy weekend on the track, and with sponsor and personal appearances.

“That’s what pays the bills and allows us to do this,” Power said.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500